The Kansas City Royals finished five games behind the Twins in the Wild Card standings. Here are five losses that could have helped put the Royals in the playoffs.
The race for the American League’s second Wild Card spot seemed destined for a photo finish. Then the Kansas City Royals and other challengers slowly faded away to allow Minnesota to easily secure the AL’s final playoff spot.
When the season came to a close on Sunday, the Royals, Rangers and Angels all finished 80-82—five games behind the Twins. That’s a fairly comfortable gap. But it’s one that the Kansas City Royals could have overcome if a handful of results had gone differently over the course of a 162-game schedule.
Would the Royals be the ones playing the Wild Card Game against New York on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium?
That got us thinking about some of those heartbreaking losses during the 2017 campaign. What if just five of those had gone the other way? Would the Royals be the ones playing the Wild Card Game against New York on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium?
Obviously, this exercise involves the folly of assuming every result not selected stays exactly the same. While it could be argued that it clearly favors the Kansas City Royals—because only their win total can increase—it also fails to consider the potential momentum these wins would have given the team.
That is to say, if the Royals had won these five games, there’s a good chance they would have won even more. Baseball teams—more so than other a lot of sports—can be incredibly streaky.
With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive in.